I have heard it more times than I can count. 

"I'm overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  So much of my day is spent putting out fires and reacting to customer demands.  The only way I can get my key projects done is to come into the office earlier and stay later, and work on the weekends when at least I have fewer interruptions."   

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Index, 57 percent of business owners in the U.S. work six days a week, and more than 20 percent of them work seven days a week.  

So if you think that you are only working 40 hours a week. Chances are you are lying to yourself.

The majority of you are working a lot....so much in fact, that you stopped keeping track. 

As a business coach for over a decade, our mission to help our clients make the best use of their time and help them focus on high value tasks that will help their company scale. Which means that we see a lot of the same behavior time and time again with small-medium business owners. And these behaviors are the core reasons why you are frustrated and burnt out. 

Here are 3 reasons why you are perpetually chained to your business (and how to break those chains.):

1. Controlitis: -- The Inflammation Of Your Control Gland.  

You often find yourself saying, "If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself."

Business leaders generally tend to be control freaks.  You hate the anxiety of wondering if someone else will do the job right.  You regularly feel pulled back into assuming control and more closely directing your team.  You are not alone.

But recognize the high price you and your company are paying for your urge to control every detail of your business and team.

I'm not suggesting that you abdicate responsibility, but rather, build on a stable base of sound business systems, a talented and well-trained team, and a culture that helps ensure that your team properly handles any ambiguous situation that arises. 

2. Lack Of Depth: -- A Vicious Cycle. 

When you have a team that lacks the experience or talent to accomplish the goals you've set, you often find yourself pulled back into more closely doing and managing the functions of your department, division, or business.  

It becomes a chicken and egg thing. If you only had the right people on the team you could let go of more. But because you have to handle so much of the work volume, you don't have the time and attention to hire and develop the right people who could take off more of the load currently on your shoulders. It's a vicious cycle. 

The way to break this chain is to incrementally- develop your systems, cross- train your team and design a culture that will allow you to let go and focus on higher value tasks. 

3. Lack Of Clarity

Without clear priorities and objectives that every member on your staff understands, efforts get scattered and poor decisions get made.  This leads to underperformance, which pushes you to chase after more control to set things back on the right path, which further robs the business of depth as you're not prioritizing time to develop your team so that they can take on more responsibilities.  It's a negative reinforcement loop.

Lack of clarity is evident when you feel like you spend your days putting out fires and unable to come up for air. You are overwhelmed by emails, messages and app feeds. And what do most people do to escape this? They take the easy, low-value tasks first. And spend the weekend and after hours working on the things that they really should have been working on all along. 

Stay tuned for part 2, where I share 2 more reasons you can't cut down your hours.

Published on: Oct 2, 2018